The John & Dymphna Laurie Collection
John and Dymphna were both born in Adelaide: John was born in 1931, the middle child of Robin and Joan (nee Clark) Laurie. Dymphna was born in 1934, the youngest of two daughters of Gerard and Dora Fox (nee Betchen). The Laurie, Clark and Fox families are pioneering South Australian families with a rich Australian history.
Dymphna’s father served in the Australian Imperial Forces in both World Wars and John’s father in the Australian Air Force in the second World War. Like many Australians born in this era, John and Dymphna’s lives were forged by the history of WWI, the Great Depression, and growing up during WWII. John and Dymphna met at Adelaide University. John studied Engineering and Dymphna Social Work. Upon completion of his engineering degree John went to Montreal, Canada, to work at Dominion Bridge Company. Dymphna joined him after finishing her studies and they were married in Montreal.
They lived in Canada and London before returning to Sydney, Australia, when John was offered a position at Maunsell & Partners, Engineering and Planning Consultants. Post WWII saw a boom in Australian major infrastructure projects and John rose to become Managing Director and then Chairman. He left Maunsells in 1991 to take up the position of Chairman of the Citylink Project and served on the boards of Monash University, Melbourne Girls Grammar, the Austin Hospital and others.
Dymphna’s career as a social worker resumed in 1973, when the family moved to Melbourne. Her area of interest was in disability services and she worked at Yooralla, the Equal Opportunity Board and The Victorian Public Guardianship & Advocacy Board. In 2006 Dymphna was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia, in recognition of her services and advocacy in the disability sector.
John was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in 2003, and the Peter Nichol medal in 2004, for his contribution to engineering in Australia and services overseas. His work in major infrastructure projects took him all over Australia and the world with Dymphna accompanying him on many trips.
John and Dymphna enjoyed collecting art throughout their lives including Australian indigenous art, modern Australian art and artworks acquired on their overseas travels. John worked extensively in Papua New Guinea in its infrastructure infancy and was fascinated by the people and culture. The private collection presented with Gibson’s is a mixture of artefacts that Dymphna and John inherited from their respective families and artworks they collected during their life together.